Sunday, June 5, 2011


Okay. Everyone knows walking is important. The first significant benchmark in little Johnnie's life is his first step. At the opposite end of the spectrum, Tim Conway showed us the 'old man shuffle' in his memorable Carol Burnett Show skits. There are too many steps between little Johnnie and Tim Conway to count.

Children bound, teenagers strut and soldiers march. I could not help but notice the erect body posture and flat foot placement of Arabs walking on sandy deserts. I noticed, too, that big, clunky gym shoes worn by westerners give the wearer a lumbering caveman walk.

Groups of people, by class, occupation, gender or geography seem to employ different ways of walking, swaggering or striding. Even on land, sailors appear to walk as though they were aboard a ship on the rolling sea. Music influences the way some people walk, like the New Orleans funeral procession with an exaggerated swaying to the meter of familiar Bayou blues. Our 'westward' pioneers often accomplished their journey by walking great distances from Missouri and California. Who knows how many steps an infantryman took during the Crusades of 1076, or a soldier during the Revolutionary War of 1776. Natives and visitors in Australia are known to go on a "walkabout" that can take days, weeks or months while natives and visitors in Japan gain respect and status by walking 'up' Mount Fuji carrying a stick that can be branded with victorious Kanji at the summit. All this walking is serious, honorable and respectable yet, there is nothing sillier-looking than fashion models ostrich-stepping down the runway.

Perhaps I should not be a judge. I do as little walking as possible. Following health recommendations, I do try to include a half hour of walking each day - if trudging up the driveway to retrieve the morning newspaper is included, if trips to the bathroom and refrigerator count, if touring WalMart to find coffee filters or light bulbs is walking, and if moseying from table to table playing MahJongg has merit - then I do meet the minimum daily requirements for walking.

I received an email from a neighbor, a man who I rarely ever see 'walk' because he is always on his mower or golf cart, addressing 'The Importance of Walking" like this:
Walking can add minutes to your life.
This enables you at 85 years old to spend
An additional 5 months in a nursing home
At $7,000 per month.

He says:
My grandpa started walking

Five miles a day when he was 60.
Now he's 97 years old and we
Don't know where the hell he is.

The advantage of walking every day

Is so when you die, they'll say,
'...Well, she looks good doesn't she."

Every time I hear those dirty words,

"Walking is good for you," I wash my
mouth out with chocolate.

I'd like to thank whomever designed this 'walking' email; it totally erased my guilt.

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